South Deep gold mine - Operations

2017 was an encouraging year for South Deep, with improvements made impacting organisational capacity, mine design and planning, and mining quality.

South Deep's mining methods are unique and require ongoing optimisation and refinement. The mining value chain has significant potential for productivity and efficiency improvements, as the mining methods are bedded down. The high profile destress method was successfully implemented during 2017, and the embedding of this method continues. Destress mining and the provision of the necessary enabling ground conditions remains key to achieving the planned production build-up. Further refinements were also made to this activity, driven by geotechnical and production efficiency parameters. The revised design includes:

  • Twin access to cuts, elimination of trucks in the stoping horizon over time with improved ore-flow design, engineering infrastructure and ventilation flow
  • Larger yield pillars (rib pillars) in the destress area and reduced corridor spans resulting in a stiffer system that reduces the seismic risk
  • The rib pillar design also reduced the requirement for backfill during the destressing phase
  • The long-hole stoping sequence is in the process of been changed from a primary-secondary extraction strategy to a sequential method to improve the geotechnical stability and maximise extraction